This Fall, the McLean County Museum of History will host the Evergreen Cemetery Discovery Walk on October 5, 6, 12 and 13.
Created in 1995, the walk started off as a way to raise awareness for cemetery preservation, as well as the rich, diverse history that exists in McLean County.
“We used to have a problem with young people vandalizing the cemetery. We wanted to create an event that would showcase how important it is to respect cemeteries. We wanted to show that there are real people buried out there,” Candace Summers, director of education at the McLean County of History, said.
Today, the event continues to serve as a reminder of how important it is to value historical sites such as the Evergreen Cemetery.
The walk is divided into two parts: a theatrical performance performed by paid, professional actors and a guided tour given by local volunteers.
The guides lead people through the cemetery, supplying them with fascinating information about its history, as well as prepping them for the performance they are about to see.
This year, there will be eight different characters dressed in costumes that will represent a piece of McLean County history.
Two characters that will be represented include James Goodheart, a past U.S. Deputy Marshal and Ruby Edwards, past president of the local branch of NAACP.
“You get a nice slice out of each person’s life and interesting information about the cemetery,” Summers said.
The tour lasts about 90 minutes to two hours, depending on the pace of the overall group.
Be sure to come prepared with a comfortable pair of walking shoes, as the walk is roughly a mile long.
Despite being hosted in an actual cemetery, the guided tour is not meant to spook anyone. Rather, it is meant to educate the public.
The tour is suitable for kids of all ages, and college kids are encouraged to attend.
According to Summers, the Evergreen Cemetery walk is a fabulous event that brings history to life in a new and unique way.
“As a student at ISU, this is a great way to learn more about your home away from home. You can really get in touch with local happenings that are outside of your campus,” Summers said.
Tickets can be purchased at The McLean County Museum of History for $14 for general public, $12 for museum members and $4 for children and students with IDs.